The following description gives an overview for the different products and concepts of the Tinkerforge building block system. A detailed description of the functions and offered APIs can be found in the documentation of each product.
Our products are divided into five different categories:
This tutorial explains of how everything works together.
Bricks are 4 x 4cm (1.57 x 1.57") modules that can be controlled by devices, such as (embedded) PCs, over their Mini-USB connector. Every Brick basically performs one task. There are Bricks that perform complex sensor tasks (e.g. IMU Brick 2.0), communicate (e.g. Master Brick) and drive motors (e.g. DC Brick).
With Bricklets the features of Bricks can be extended. Dependent on the Brick it has two or four connectors for Bricklets.
Bricks can be assembled into a stack (see description of stack concept). The USB interface of a Master Brick can be replaced by Wi-Fi, Ethernet or RS485 with Master Extensions. In conjunction with the stack concept all Bricks and Bricklets can be controlled by Wi-Fi or Ethernet instead by USB.
|DC||Drives one brushed DC motor with up to 28V and 5A (peak)|
|Debug||For Firmware Developers: JTAG and serial console|
|IMU||Full fledged AHRS with 9 degrees of freedom|
|IMU 2.0||Full fledged AHRS with 9 degrees of freedom|
|Master||Basis to build stacks and has 4 Bricklet ports|
|RED||Executes user programs and controls other Bricks/Bricklets standalone|
|Servo||Drives up to 7 RC Servos with up to 3A|
|Stepper||Drives one bipolar stepper motor with up to 38V and 2.5A per phase|
Bricklets can be used to extend the features of Bricks. There are Bricklets to measure physical quantity such as rotation, voltage, current and ambient light as well as Bricklets for control purposes such as switching relays, digital input/output and alphanumeric output on LCDs.
Unlike Bricks, Bricklets have no fixed size. Each Bricklet has the minimum size possible. Each Brick has up to four connectors for Bricklets. Bricklets can be controlled over the USB connection of the connected Brick.
Bricklets are not equipped with processors but possess their own API. From the programmer perspective they are handled as an independent modules. On startup a Brick detects connected Bricklets. The Bricklet plugins, stored in the EEPROM of the Bricklet, are loaded into the flash of the Brick. This adds new functions to the Brick, that can then be used from the PC.
|Accelerometer||Measures acceleration in three axis|
|Ambient Light||Measures ambient light up to 900lux|
|Ambient Light 2.0||Measures ambient light up to 64000lux|
|Analog In||Measures DC voltage between 0V and 45V|
|Analog In 2.0||Measures DC voltage between 0V and 42V|
|Analog Out||Generates configurable DC voltage between 0V and 5V|
|Analog Out 2.0||Generates configurable DC voltage between 0V and 12V|
|Barometer||Measures air pressure and altitude changes|
|Breakout||Makes all Bricklet signals available|
|CAN||Communicates with CAN bus devices|
|CO2||Measures CO2 concentration in ppm|
|Color||Measures color (RGB value), illuminance and color temperature|
|Current12||Measures AC/DC current between -12.5A and +12.5A|
|Current25||Measures AC/DC current between -25A and +25A|
|Distance IR||Measures distance up to 150cm with infrared light|
|Distance US||Measures distance between 2cm and 400cm with ultrasound|
|Dual Button||Two tactile buttons with built-in blue LEDs|
|Dual Relay||Two relays to switch AC/DC devices|
|Dust Detector||Measures dust density|
|GPS||Determine position, velocity and altitude using GPS|
|Hall Effect||Detects presence of magnetic field|
|Humidity||Measures relative humidity|
|Industrial Analog Out||Generates configurable DC voltage and current, 0V to 10V and 4mA to 20mA|
|Industrial Digital In 4||4 galvanically isolated digital inputs|
|Industrial Digital Out 4||4 galvanically isolated digital outputs|
|Industrial Dual 0-20mA||Measures two DC currents between 0mA and 20mA (IEC 60381-1)|
|Industrial Dual Analog In||Measures two DC voltages between -35V and +35V with 24bit resolution each|
|Industrial Quad Relay||4 galvanically isolated solid state relays|
|IO-16||16-channel digital input/output|
|IO-4||4-channel digital input/output|
|Joystick||2-axis joystick with push-button|
|Laser Range Finder||Measures distance up to 40m with laser light|
|LCD 16x2||16x2 character alphanumeric display with blue backlight|
|LCD 20x4||20x4 character alphanumeric display with blue backlight|
|LED Strip||Controls up to 320 RGB LEDs|
|Line||Measures reflectivity of a surface|
|Linear Poti||59mm linear potentiometer|
|Load Cell||Measures weight with a load cell|
|Moisture||Measures soil moisture|
|Motion Detector||Passive infrared (PIR) motion sensor, 7m range|
|Multi Touch||Capacitive touch sensor for 12 electrodes|
|NFC/RFID||Reads and writes NFC and RFID tags|
|OLED 128x64||3.3cm (1.3inch) OLED with 128x64 pixels|
|OLED 64x48||1.68cm (0.66inch) OLED with 64x48 pixels|
|Piezo Buzzer||Creates 1kHz beep|
|Piezo Speaker||Creates beep with configurable frequency|
|PTC||Reads temperatures from Pt100 und Pt1000 sensors|
|Real-Time Clock||Battery-backed real-time clock|
|Remote Switch||Controls remote mains switches|
|RGB LED||Controls one RGB LED|
|Rotary Encoder||360° rotary encoder with push-button|
|Rotary Poti||300° rotary potentiometer|
|RS232||Communicates with RS232 devices|
|Segment Display 4x7||Four 7-segment displays with switchable colon|
|Solid State Relay||Controls AC and DC Solid State Relays|
|Sound Intensity||Measures sound intensity|
|Temperature||Measures ambient temperature with 0.5°C accuracy|
|Temperature IR||Measures contactless object temperature between -70°C and +380°C|
|Thermocouple||Measures temperature with thermocouples|
|Tilt||Detects inclination of Bricklet (tilt switch open/closed)|
|UV Light||Measures UV light|
|Voltage||Measures DC voltage between 0V and 50V|
|Voltage/Current||Measures power, DC voltage and DC current up to 720W/36V/20A|
If a Master Brick is used on its own or in a stack communication is done by its USB interface. Master Extensions extends the communication interface of Master Bricks. There are cable based (RS485, Ethernet) and wireless Master Extensions (WIFI) available. Instead over USB Bricks and Bricklets can be controlled over Wi-Fi or Ethernet. RS485 can be used to interconnect Bricks and Bricklets over larger distances.
From a programming perspective the different interfaces are transparent. A stack with Master Extension behaves as if every Brick in the stack would be directly connected to the PC over an USB connection.
This means: You can develop an application with all modules independently connected to the PC over USB. Later you can stack these modules together to stacks, add Master Bricks and cable based or wireless Extensions and you can run the previously written code without any changes.
|Chibi||Wireless Chibi connection between stacks|
|Ethernet||Cable based Ethernet connection between stack and PC|
|RS485||Cable based RS485 connection between stacks|
|WIFI||Wireless Wi-Fi connection between stack and PC|
|WIFI 2.0||Wireless Wi-Fi connection between stack and PC|
Bricks and Bricklets can be powered by the USB connector of the Brick. Stacks can also be powered by the master of the stack over its USB connection. This option is limited by the USB specification to 500mA. A large stack may need more power.
To provide greater currents, Power Supplies are available. These modules power the stack and can additionally be used to supply the power for driver Bricks (e.g. DC Brick). Power Supplies have the same size as Bricks and are stacked in at the bottom of the stack.
|Step-Down||Powers a stack of Bricks with 5V|
Bricks can be stacked. A Master Brick (as the lowermost Brick) is responsible for the communication between all boards within the stack. This master routes the messages between the boards in the stack and the controlling device. This way only one USB connection is necessary to control all Bricks and Bricklets of a stack. For the user, the stack behaves as if all Bricks were connected separately over USB with the device. The stacking tutorial gives more information about how to use stacks.
A general description of the programming interface can be found here. An overview of the API bindings for each programming language is given here. The API of each product can be found on each product document page. Additional there can be found programming examples for the product in any supported programming language.
These Tutorials are an introduction to the usage of Bricks and Bricklets: